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Letters to the editor 6/16

June 15, 2003

Keep moratorium in place


To the editor:

We would like to take this opportunity to thank the 300-plus residents of Washington County who signed the petition to the County Commissioners urging them to leave the rural building moratorium in place until the Comprehensive Plan can be implemented. We also thank the commissioners for not lifting the moratorium prematurely.

Let's not forget that building within the Urban Growth Areas is still continuing, approved subdivisions in the rural areas can proceed, property owners that want to subdivide their land for their family members and builders who stay within the five lot maximum cap can still build. But, any large out-of-county developer who has been rushing to purchase and subdivide large tracts of our valuable farmland has been slowed down - at least for now.

However, the integrity and success of our new land-use plan can still be seriously compromised. Still on the books for the commissioners are eight large subdivisions pending in our rural areas, some in areas slated for preservation. You can imagine that developers will be working diligently to further their own interests, without considering the wishes of citizens and without regard for the intent of the adopted but unimplemented Comprehensive Plans.

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Four of the pending developments are in South County consisting of 105 homes and using 409 acres of farmland. Boonsboro has already stated that the septic systems for one of these developments may threaten the Boonsboro water supply. We would like for the commissioners to turn down these subdivisions as they do not conform to the approved plan.

We would also like to thank Bob Maginnis of The Herald-Mail for pointing out that despite the recent rains the county should look at the groundwater resources available to supply rural developments. There was a proposal made to the last Board of Commissioners to have a $50,000 study of local groundwater resources made by Earl Greene of the U.S. Geological Survey.

We urge the board to undertake this survey now so that the development of rural lands can be done with knowledge of resources instead of a "shot in the dark" approach, hoping there will be sufficient water to supply the new homes. If we allow development, let's do it intelligently and with facts to back up our decisions. Perhaps the rural residents would undertake a fund-raiser for the project ($1 per resident) if the board says the county cannot afford it.

Also, www.washcosmartgrowth.org is a Web site that is updated weekly with the latest news on development issues and related topics - check it out and stay informed!

Henryetta Livelsberger

and Elizabeth Vahey

Committee to Save Our Rural Areas

Rohrersville




Anger no substitute for facts


To the editor:

Educate yourself about history, yes, but make sure it's the correct one.

Mr. Gettler is the one "who did not receive the proper history education" of World War I and World War II. A country goes to war only when its interests and safety are at stake.

When, on June 26, 1917, General Pershing's troops began landing in France, that country had already lost 1 million dead and Great Britain 501,000. The reason the United States entered the war had nothing to do with friendship or compassion. The German Navy had been indiscriminately sinking U.S. merchant ships in the Atlantic. Even after the passenger liner, the Lusitania, had been sunk with the loss of 128 American citizens, President Wilson felt the country should not enter the war. However, in January, 1917, the British intercepted a message from the Kaiser to Mexico proposing an alliance with our Southern neighbor should the United States enter the war.

Only then, when American interests were threatened, did the president persuade the Congress to declare war. The majority of Americans were vehemently opposed to a conflict in Europe.

In World War II, the same scenario developed. When France fell in June, 1940, Britain was able to resist only because it was across the Channel. On land, both the French and the British retreated when faced with the massive German war machine. By then the United States had stopped all shipments of arms to the countries at war, arms that might have helped turn the tide.

President Roosevelt had to fight the "Isolationists," as they were already known, and the likes of the radio priest Father Coughlin, to enact the "Lend Lease" program to aid Britain and Russia.

But it was not until the United States was itself attacked on Dec. 7, 1941, that the country, now directly wounded, declared war on the Axis. We lost ships, not only at Pearl Harbor, but also in the vast reaches of the Pacific Ocean. We lost land in the Philippines, Wake Island and Guam. At that time, the U.S. would have been unable to fight and win against Germany.

Only after two years of a remarkable, sustained buildup was D-Day possible. It was in the interest of this country to fight back and win.

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